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Legislative Council elections 2016

Threats against lawmakers and candidates fly in the face of Hong Kong’s core values

Intimidation and violence are unacceptable in our law-abiding society and serious police investigations send the right signal that will not be tolerated

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 September, 2016, 12:25am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 September, 2016, 12:25am

When a newly elected lawmaker says he is has received death threats and turns to the police for round-the-clock protection, there is every reason to be concerned. The use of violence or intimidation not just flies in the face of our core values, it is also a blatant challenge to our civil liberties and the rule of law.

As soon as Eddie Chu Hoi-dick made his claims known to the police, he and his family has been placed under tight protection. The 38-year-old veteran environmental activist said he and his family had been facing threats ever since he joined the Legco election race. Upon winning in the New Territories West with an 84,121 votes, the highest among the 84 lists in the geographical polls, he complained of “imminent” death threats and reported this to the police on Thursday.

Chu ran with a platform targeting the controversial small-house policy and land abuse in rural areas. He said he had received a phone call from a village chief in May, urging him to stop digging into a brownfield site in Yuen Long. It remains unclear whether the incidents were related. More evidence is needed to ascertain the source of the threats.

Is a rural strongman with triad links behind the death threats against ‘king of votes’ Eddie Chu?

Hong Kong is a civilised and pluralistic society. The views of individual politicians are not expected to be endorsed by everyone. But that does not justify the use of force or duress to silence opponents. Chu is the first lawmaker-elect to have allegedly received a death threat. He did not yield to the menace, and urged the police to resolve the case quickly so that he can focus on his Legco work. It is good to hear that the case will be investigated seriously. This will send the right signal that the use of threats or violence will not be tolerated.

The case involving Ken Chow Wing-kan in the same constituency is no less disturbing. The Liberal Party aspirant said he was forced to give up canvassing, citing similar threats from “people from Beijing” and “friends working for mainland organisations here”. The justice secretary has set the right tone by pledging to investigate, despite the suggestion that the alleged threat might originate outside the city.

Intimidation and violence are unacceptable in our law-abiding society, even more so when the targets are those who have been voted into office with a strong mandate. Earlier, the Democratic Party’s Andrew Wan Siu-kin and the DAB’s Elizabeth Quat also received letter threats after winning in the Legco polls. The public should condemn such cowardly acts in one voice.